LEAGUE OF IRELAND

Maginn Park gets set to host North West derby

Injury issues in both camps ahead of Premier Division clash

Diarmaid Doherty

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Diarmaid Doherty

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sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Maginn Park gets set to host North West derby

Ciaran Coll of Finn Harps, in action against Derry City last season.

A little bit of history will be made on Friday evening when for the first time ever, Derry City and Finn Harps will meet in a competitive League of Ireland fixture at Maginn Park in Buncrana.

It promises to be quite the occasion with a sell-out crowd of 1,700 supporters expected to pack into the Inishowen venue.

It’s the first meeting of the north west neighbours this season, and while Derry have enjoyed the better start in this campaign, both clubs go into this game on the back of two straight defeats.

There are injury problems in both camps as well with Rory Patterson ruled out for City and Barry McNamee a major doubt after he missed last weekend’s 3-0 defeat away to Cork City.

For Harps, Ciaran O’Connor and Danny Morrissey will be absent again. Both players are nursing hamstring injuries and they have been joined on the treatment table this week by Eddie Dsane who picked up a knock after coming on as a second half substitute in the defeat to Dundalk on Friday night.

In the absence of Morrissey and O’Connor, Harps boss Ollie Horgan deployed Sean Houston as a makeshift striker for the Dundalk game, although the manager might try something different tomorrow night.

“I don’t think that really worked out,” he said this week.

“To be honest, we didn’t play well and I don’t think Gary Rogers (the Dundalk keeper) had a save to make all night.

“If we’d lost 2-0 and played well, I’d have been a lot happier. But Dundalk didn’t play all that well either. When you think about it, did Ciaran Gallagher have many saves to make?

“They hit the woodwork twice and McMillan got his two goals. Okay that’s four chances, but did Gallagher have many saves to make other than that?”

Horgan is all too aware that despite their recent defeats, Derry City, have no end of quality within their ranks.

“I saw the highlights of the game against Bray and how they didn’t win that is beyond me,” he said.

“They’re a proper side. They’ve enjoyed a great start to the season and believe me, they’re going to give some team a trouncing. The last time we played them, they did that to us at Finn Park. I just hope we aren’t on the receiving end of another one on Friday night.”

One player who has caught Horgan’s eye is midfielder Nicky Low. The player joined Derry City on-loan from Dundee in January and has really hit the ground running.

“He’s a class act, a really super player,” Horgan said.

Whether or not Low will have Barry McNamee for company in the City midfield tomorrow night remains to be seen. The Ramelton man has a hamstring problem which saw him miss the defeat in Cork last Friday night.

As for Harps, Horgan will also have to decide on how best to deploy Paddy McCourt and Barry Molloy. The former Derry City duo have also been hampered by injury of late and the manager said neither will be able to feature for a full 90 minutes on Friday night.